INTERVIEW BY KATINA GOULAKOS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC FRIDEEN
Passion is something that Aaron Pierre is not lacking in his life. The athlete turned actor can be recognized from the hit television series Krypton where he plays Dev-Em. His gratitude in regards to his career and his love for his job made chatting with him a real treat.
Imagista: How did your love for acting start?
Aaron: Initially, acting is not what I wanted to do. I initially wanted to be an athlete; I wanted to be a sprinter. So for a good few years I was convinced that I would do that. I went ahead and trained and I was lucky enough to get a gold medal in the 60 meters, things were looking really good and I reached a point as a teenager that I got more interested in acting and that is when I stopped training.
I was probably about fourteen when my school put on a play and we did not have drama as an option to study. It was one play every three years that was put on. I think the play was Moby Dick and I got a really small part as a narrator and I just absolutely loved it.
I think what I loved about it was the opportunity to tell a story and evoke some sort of feeling which promoted some sort of thought, that was what was so fascinating to me. From there, it was just a matter of focusing all my energy into the most direct root to my passion. I joined a drama group in my local area, in this really run down old building and the group was called crypt. Basically we would improvise weekly and devise a piece of theater every few weeks then perform it for whoever would show up. We did that every six weeks and I feel like that is where I learnt the fundamentals of what I do really. Our teacher used to tell us that no matter if there were two people in the audience or twenty, we have to give the same performance. The performance and energy you give should not be defined by how many people are present in the audience.
Shirt by Officine Générale from Coggles. Vest by Dolce & Gabbana. Trousers by YMC from Coggles. Belt by Hugo Boss.
Imagista: You mentioned before that you were an athlete; do you think there is any correlation between being an actor and an athlete?
Aaron: I do actually. I think, sometimes there is more of a parallel than people realize. When it comes to stage work, and even screen work actually, that endurance and the level of energy you have to bring is a sport in itself. You can’t give anything but your all. When you see actresses like Viola Davis that requires so much power, so much energy and so much endurance to maintain the level of performance she brings every time, without fail, on stage and on screen. When you are on stage, it is like a steam train, you need to maintain your level of energy for 2 to 3 hours. On screen, you may have to do the same scene six or seven times, all of which requires you to maintain that level of energy.
Imagista: You play Dev-Em in the show Krypton, can you tell me a little bit about what that experience has been like?
Aaron: It has been an amazing experience. I say this a lot but it has really been an honor. It has been an honor to be part of the story that means so much to many people.
Facing left: Jacket by Maison Margiela. T-shirt by Basic Rights. Jeans by Incotex from Boots by O’Keeffe at, Belt stylists own. Facing right: Shirt by Kingsman from, Coat by Ermenegildo Zegna from, Trousers by Maison Margiela from, Belt by Prada.
Imagista: It is a big deal!
Aaron: It is and it feels surreal. I am so honored and thankful for the opportunity to be part of telling this story.
Imagista: Were you a fan of comic books?
Aaron: When I was a kid, whenever I had the means to buy a comic book, I would. I think that was the first time where I consciously allowed my imagination to run wild. Prior to that, you do it subconsciously, but at that age, I had started to really understand what was written and invest in the trajectories of the characters and the worlds they inhabited and the powers they possessed, I think I allowed myself to let my imagination go wild and really invest in those stories. So now, to be part of Krypton, is just amazing to me. There are going to be people out there, drawing out parallels to the story we are telling and empathizing with the characters that we are portraying and it means a lot to me- I am very grateful for that.
Facing Left: Jacket by Neil Barrett from, T shirt by Basic Rights from basic, Jeans by Incotex from, Belt by Anderson. Facing Right: Jacket by Maison Margiela. T-shirt by Basic Rights. Jeans by Incotex.
Imagista: From what I understood from speaking with Cameron Cuffe is that the cast and crew are really close knit, do you feel the same way?
Aaron: Absolutely. Everyone involved, cast, crew and production, everyone is so fiercely passionate about this project and the story they are telling. This makes for a perfect creative environment.
Imagista: You want to tell me a little bit about what a regular day in your life is like?
Aaron: It depends on what day it is really. I think generally, my day would include working out. Either boxing or going to the gym or going for a run, at least one of those things I do daily. Reading, I love reading; I can’t really get enough of books. It does not matter what form it is in sometimes I might be reading a novel for a period of time then for another period of time I will be reading a non-fiction book on the physiology of the human body. I just like reading. Then spending time with family and friends as much as I can. They are a massive part of my life. I am a family man and I get a lot of joy being around my friends and family.
Facing left: Shirt by Officine Générale. Vest by Dolce & Gabbana. Facing Right: Long sleeve top by Levi’s. Trousers by YMC. Belt by Hugo Boss.
Imagista: Who has been your biggest influence as an actor?
Aaron: Do I have to chose just one?
Imagista: No you can chose as many as you want!
Aaron: Sidney Poitier, I just think he is the ultimate powerhouse. What he represents is just courage, strength and real presence for me. Denzel Washington, again, represents very similar things for me. When I say strength in reference to Sidney and Denzel I mean it in terms of what offset Sidney may have had to deal with. He was not one of many when he was doing his thing so that is what I am characterizing as strength; it is admirable to me. Ava Duvernay is also incredible. Everything she touches is incredible. She is an incredible director. You look at Thirteenth the documentary and it is hard to condense into words how important that documentary is. She tells such important stories and in a way that is so captivating.
The list goes on and on but those are the first three that came to my head.
Imagista: What to you is the best and worst part about your job?
Aaron: I say this wholeheartedly and with all honesty- I do not see any aspect of my job as a worst part or an unpleasant part. I am just so thrilled and thankful that I have the opportunity to live and make a living from something that I am passionate about so I do not have any complaints. Even when not much is happening, I am thankful and grateful because I would not want to do anything else, I truly do not have any complaints, this is a dream for me, I love it.
Imagista: Is there anything you want to share with our Imagista audience?
Aaron: I love poetry and I write poetry quite regularly because for me, it is just another way to be creative and articulate whatever is going on internally. One of my favorite poets is Langston Hughes and my favorite poem that he has written is “April Rain Song.” It is a very short poem but it speaks to me, I am not sure why, maybe it is because I grew up in London where it rains a lot but it just touches my soul especially the last three lines which are:
“The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.”
It is so beautifully simple and it is my favorite poem.